These cheesy mashed potatoes are delicious, fluffy and the perfect make-ahead, no-stress side. They are super easy to prepare, even for a single serving, and so comforting you'll want to finish the whole thing off.
The post contains helpful tips and tricks to make sure you're successful in your first attempt. But if you're in a rush, please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end!
💭 Why you'll love this recipe
Nothing says "comfort food" like these cheesy, garlic mashed potatoes.
- Stove-top or Instant Pot. Some people want to pressure cook their potatoes, some people want to use the stove-top. I got you covered.
- Easy to scale up or down. Making mashed potatoes for one or two? No judgment, just check that section to make sure you're scaling your recipe appropriately
- Great make-ahead side. You can peel and chop the potatoes up to a day ahead, and it freezes quite well too.
- Versatile as leftovers. There are so many amazing dishes you can make with leftover mashed potatoes - where do I even start?! But to give you a quick hint - think vegetarian Shepherd's Pie or my favorite Indian street food, pav bhaji!
📋 Ingredients & Variations
For this recipe, you'll need 4 large, Yukon Gold potatoes along with butter, buttermilk, cream cheese, Fontina cheese, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- I love Yukon Gold potatoes. They have a uniform and consistent texture. They don't get mushy and they're not grainy. You can also use Russet potatoes (they're more starchy).
- Swap Fontina with Cheddar. Fontina is an Italian cow-milk cheese that's hard to beat. If you want a more traditional flavor, and/or can't find Fontina, Cheddar is your friend.
- Swap buttermilk with sour cream. I love the sour notes of the buttermilk but also wanted to keep the mashed potatoes a tad lighter (given the abundance of cheese). You can definitely go all out and swap it with sour cream to give it even more of a rich feel.
Mashed potatoes for one or two
Mashed potatoes are amazing, but yes, most recipes are often written for a large family. It can be hard to scale down a recipe that starts with 3.5 lbs of potatoes, so I wanted to make it easier for you. To make mashed potatoes for one or two people, simply halve or quarter the recipe as written. You'll need 2 large potatoes if you're making it for two people, or just one large potato if you're making it for yourself. I've been there, so get it.
⏲️ Cheesy mashed potatoes from scratch
Start by cleaning and prepping the potatoes.
Wash the potatoes thoroughly, then peel them. Once they're peeled cut them into even cubes or chunks (this helps them cook more evenly). Have a bowl of cold water handy next to you, and drop the chopped spuds into that bowl. This helps remove some of the excess starch from the potatoes.
Boil the potatoes until they're fork-tender.
You can do this one of two ways - using a stove, or an Instant Pot. In both cases, when it's ready, a fork inserted into the potato should come out clean.
If you're going stove-top: add the chopped potatoes to a large pot or Dutch Oven, fill it with 5 cups of water (i.e. enough to add an inch or two of water over the potatoes). Then add a some salt, a garlic clove, and bring water to boil. Once boiling, turn heat down to medium and let it cook covered for 15 minutes. It might take a few more depending on your stove.
If you're doing this in an Instant Pot, chop the potatoes, add about 4 cups of water, place the lid and set the valve to seal. Cook on manual pressure for about 8 minutes. Quick release the pressure, and you're ready to go.
Mash the potatoes so they're light and fluffy
The key here is not to over-mash the potatoes, so that means you'll be staying away from the food processor and hand mixers! I recommend three potential tools - a simple wooden spoon against a colander, a masher or a ricer (ricer offers most control over consistency).
Once your potatoes are boiled, drain them, and mash them up in the pot you boiled them using one of the tools mentioned above. After a few good mashes, add the butter in and continue to mash them until they're somewhat fluffy (it's okay if they're a bit lumpy!)
Add the cheese and get ready to scoop up a spoon of heaven
Whisk buttermilk, cream cheese, Fontina and Parmesan in a separate bowl. Now, fold them into the mashed potatoes using a rubber spatula. This should take 30 seconds. Don't overmix it - this is one of the main reasons mashed potatoes get too gummy.
Garnish with butter, chopped scallions, a bit more Fontina and you're ready to go!
🍴 Serving & storage suggestions
These cheesy mashed potatoes are so darn delicious so I basically just eat them on their own. However, they do make a smashing side for any large family (Thanksgiving, anyone?!) and go great with most main dishes.
Have a ton of leftover mashed potatoes? No problem! Check out these ideas:
- Make a killer vegetarian Shepherd's Pie with these cheesy mashed potatoes (filled with a mushroom and walnut filling, so delicious!)
- Repurpose them into a delicious Indian street snack - Mumbai Pav Bhaji - by adding a vegetables and some more seasoning!
- Add some bread crumbs, throw them into your nearest muffin tins and make a delicious baked mashed potato balls for the next day!
You can store these mashed potatoes in the fridge for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container without any issues. You can also freeze them for up to 3 or 4 months. Place them in a freezer-safe bag, squeeze all the air out, and place the bag flat on a counter and pat them to remove any weird air pockets. Thaw them overnight in the fridge before eating. To reheat, warm them on the stove, adding a bit more butter as needed. Stir once in a while to make sure they don't clump or dry out.
If you loved this recipe, chances are you'll love some of these other side recipes too
Cheesy Mashed Potatoes
- 4 large Yukon Gold potatoes, approximately 3.5 lbs
- 0.5 cup unsalted butter
- 1.5 cups shredded Fontina cheese, substitute with white cheddar
- 0.5 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened (1 package)
- 2 scallion stalks, chopped finely, for garnish
- ½ cup buttermilk, the secret ingredient!
- 2 tsp salt, adjust to taste
- Wash the potatoes thoroughly and peel them. Slice them into even cubes and soak them in cold water for a few minutes. Note: Typically, I have a bowl with cold water that I toss the potatoes in as I peel and chop them up into small cubes. Soaking potatoes releases some starch so they are fluffy and not gummy when cooked.
- Add the chopped potatoes to a large pot or Dutch oven along with a clove of garlic. Cover with a few inches of water (I typically use about 5 cups of water for 4 large Yukon Gold potatoes). On medium-high heat, bring the water to boil first and then turn the hit to a medium to simmer. Check the potatoes after 15 minutes using a fork (if it pierces cleanly, your potatoes are done). If not, boil for another 5 minutes until tender.
- Drain the potatoes using a colander and throw them back in the same pot. This keeps the spuds warm as you're mashing. Use a wooden spoon, masher or ricer to get the spuds into a a rough mash. Then, add butter to the mashed or riced potatoes and give it a good mash again until the butter melts and you get a smoother mash.Note: I prefer not to use a blender or hand mixer because I find the potatoes often get too gummy when over-mashed. A ricer or masher is your best bet to get it to the right consistency. It's okay if it's a bit lumpy at first (that's where the cheesy goodness comes in)
- In a bowl, whisk buttermilk, cream cheese and Fontina together along with some minced garlic. Now, pour this mixture onto the mashed potatoes, and use either a rubber spatula to get them folded into the mashed potatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- I like to garnish my mashed potatoes with a few red pepper flakes and chopped scallions before serving.
- I prefer using Yukon Gold potatoes in my mashed potatoes since they're the perfect mix of starchy and waxy. You can also use Russet potatoes for a more traditional mashed potato dish. I'd stay away from Red Bliss and other "waxier" potatoes.
- If you're baking your mashed potatoes, pour the mash into a casserole dish, top with even more Fontina and parmesan and bake for about 30 minutes at 350F.
- I don't use a hand mixer or food processor or immersion blender because I find that they tend to over-mash the potatoes (and that makes them quite gummy!) A good masher and/or ricer will do the trick just fine!